SURPRISE!

Last Saturday, Diane and I were invited to our friend’s house for dinner. It turned out it was a surprise party for me, a show of support before I venture off into the world of chemotherapy. The house was nearly full of kids. Well, when I met them they were kids. Now, many of them have kids of their own. Almost everyone there had been in a high school or middle school youth group when I had been a helper or leader. I always thought some sort of reunion would be amazing.

Mike, I understand it was your idea. Nathan, I’m told you were in on it from the start. Marika and Addie, I know you had a lot to do with making it happen. Thank you. You could not have done a nicer thing for me. I don’t know how to express this better. It was the nicest thing. It was awesome to greet and hug everyone. I miss my friends and the time we shared in the youth group.

I had to tell everyone that my treatments were postponed one week due to an issue with my insurance company. My oncologist planned on using Velcade and Revlimid, a combination she has used for Multiple Myeloma patients many times, but apparently not with patients who have the same insurance company I have. The letter I received disallowing prior authorization of Revlimid said in part, “Our doctors and pharmacists study the safety and effectiveness of drugs to help you choose those with the best overall value,” and ended with, “Please let us know if we can be of further assistance to you.”

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A lot of the kids in this picture made it to the party. I will post a newer version soon.

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Friends at the Surprise Party

So, my treatments begin Monday with Velcade and Thalomid (Thalidomide). I’m hoping one of them will knock out this cold and ear infection.

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Crossing The Border

At my appointment today, my Oncologist said the bone marrow biopsy and the elevated protein in my urine place me directly at the boarder of smoldering Myeloma and full on Multiple Myeloma, and with the rate of progress the disease is making, we should waste no time starting treatment. The biopsy shows my plasma cells are now at 40% (normal is 5%) and it again confirmed my 17P deletion, a very unhappy component with MM. I had another full skeletal survey. If it shows any bone lesions or tumors, I will have radiation treatments and delay chemo. Without that delay, I’m scheduled to start in about two weeks. The chemicals that will be injected are names I have read many times on Myeloma blogs and forums, Bortezomib (Velcade) and Revlimid. I was awarded a catalog with my new membership in the chemo club; I’m told it will be an interesting read. The therapy is a series of injections, two weeks on and one week off, that runs for three months. I hope to keep working; doc says there will be good days and bad. At the end of the chemo therapy, if my improvement ranks anywhere between slightly favorable and good, I will then prepare for a stem cell transplant, which involves a month stay in the hospital. The options for one who does not respond favorably are fewer and even less attractive.

I guess we’re getting stronger. When we left the doctor’s office, Diane and I walked right past the bench where we sat and cried after my “incurable cancer” diagnosis a year and a half ago. I’m not looking forward to this, but I’m told it will extend my life. A feeling of sadness wants to take over now and then, but its crazy how I keep thinking about how many sick or hurting people would gladly trade their malady for mine. On the bright side, this may be a good opportunity to lose a few of those pesky pounds I have gained back, and I may not have to worry about combing or trimming my hair for a while.

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A favorite shot from above Detroit Lake, Oregon

Kerry, thanks again for the breakfast, I hope you have a great birthday; Betsy, sorry I had to bail on you from Face Book; Bobby, thanks for driving out for lunch, it was nice to have a little time to visit with you; Loren, I don’t know if I’ll make it down to your house this spring like I usually do.

Diane and I thank God every day for filling our lives with blessings. Each of you are counted as at least one of those blessings. I love this Peace that is from God, and your prayers magnify it.